The development of speech and language is absolutely amazing to me. In fact, I think it is downright miraculous. To watch the development of a child from birth (and to experience it so personally the 9 months before) is just a privilege and a joy. In my opinion, speech development is the most fascinating developmental milestone. Oh the tantrums, oh the fussing, oh the frustration of a 1 year old! He is so eager to explore the world and break away from Mommy, but he doesn't have the language yet to do it! It is up to the caretaker to meet their needs in a patient and loving way. The foundation for future security and independence is being laid with every tantrum or demand. It is hard to realize that in the moment, but it is always a great help to understand this!
Below are two short videos of John with a description before each video:
The first video illustrates how powerful mimicking is in the development of language. After the first little bit of the video where John shows us how well he can use a spoon to eat independently, his brother and sister are off camera and they are making sounds like "yay" and "ow" and "bop". John watches and mimics. This is such a great learning experience to be surrounded by others who are encouraging and influencing each developmental stage. Being surrounded by others as opposed to staring at puppets and fast moving cartoons on a screen is invaluable in the development of speech. Babies and young children benefit from face to face interaction which includes eye contact, mouth and tongue movement, and expression. It is undeniable that TV significantly reduces verbal interaction with peers, siblings and parents.
This next video is 18 month old John playing "Row, Row, Row Your Boat". The thing that I love about this video is how you can see so clearly what John has to do to his mouth to actually say the word, "row". Watch his mouth movement closely. It is no wonder that there are so many speech delays in children who don't have the benefit of face-to-face contact and actually seeing what the mouth and tongue do in order to get the words out. At the end of this video you will see he is done with that! He says, "out" and moves on to the next thing! Attention span of 1 yr. olds is a topic for another day... I think I am losing my focus on this blog post, anyway....see it can happen with adults, too!
For more information on the topic of this blog post, here are just two resources that can be found with the click of a mouse:
This is a link to an informative article about TV watching before age 2 and how it affects speech development http://www.nbcnews.com/id/31051013/#.UrHCCPRDtQk
This is a link to a post about a mom concerned about what caused her 2 year old's speech delay. http://www.babble.com/toddler/did-too-much-tv-cause-my-daughters-speech-delay/